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June 25, 2013

Review: Satisfaction 1x1 (CTV)

Posted on June 25, 2013 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Satisfaction

In Canada: Mondays, 8pm, CTV

Usually, there's a situation in a sitcom. That's where the word comes from.

Satisfaction laughs at that perfunctory requirement. It doesn't even bother to explain what its situation is, although you can probably guess by the end of the first episode: hot, young, upwardly mobile couple find their style slightly cramped by the slobby friend/lodger who's always getting in the way of their couple-y fun.

Yet for all the focus placed on this situation in the pilot episode, it might as well be about the difficulties of keeping meat fresh in the summer, that's how little interest the premise is to the writers. But stop right there. This isn't necessarily a bad thing in Canadian sitcoms: place too much emphasis on the sit instead of the com and you end up with high-concept shows, such as InSecurity and Seed, with well developed situations that don't actually make you laugh.

Satisfaction, however, which foregoes not just situation but also much similarity to reality, despite being based on "real life experiences", does at least pass the critical "five laughs per episode" threshold for a sitcom.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, break open the champagne: we actually have a moderately funny Canadian sitcom on our hands. Here's a trailer:

Continue reading "Review: Satisfaction 1x1 (CTV)"

June 25, 2013

Preview: Ray Donovan 1x1 (Showtime/Sky Atlantic)

Posted on June 25, 2013 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Ray Donovan

In the US: Sundays, 10pm, Showtime. Starts June 30
In the UK: Tuesdays, 10pm, Sky Atlantic. Starts July 16th

There's presumably rather a lot of sh*t going down in LA, thanks to a combination of huge amounts of money and the number of famous people with personality issues, addictions and secrets they'd rather people didn't know about them. So equally presumably there's a group of people whose life it is to help cover up the inevitable colossal cock-ups that result from the collision of these things.

Ray Donovan, created by Southland's Ann Biderman, looks at one such man, the eponymous Ray Donovan (Live Schreiber, last seen doing TV work on CSI) - the Mr Wolf of the entertainment business…

…for whom no clean-up job, whether it be a stalker, a dead woman or a 'straight' actor who likes to pick up gay, transvestite hookers, is too hard and who'll stop at nothing, even murder, if he has, too. The only thing he can't fix? His relationships, particularly when his father (Jon Voight) comes out of prison and starts to put his nose into his family's affairs. Here's a trailer, and if you're in the US, the entire first episode for you to enjoy.

Continue reading "Preview: Ray Donovan 1x1 (Showtime/Sky Atlantic)"

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June 19, 2013

The Wednesday Play: The War Game (1965)

Posted on June 19, 2013 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The War Game

Last week, 'Charley Says' reminded us all just how scared sh*tless Britain was by the threat of nuclear war during the 1960s and 1970s - understandably perhaps, given the risk of destruction of the entire human race. Nevertheless, despite the release of Protect and Survive, not many people were optimistic about their chances come Armageddon.

In part, that's thanks to the likes of this week's Wednesday Play, The War Game, which was a genuine Wednesday Play from 1965. Written, directed and produced by Peter Watkins, this documentary-style production imagined what would happen if there was a limited nuclear strike against Britain. And it's not pretty, with the instant blinding of those who see the explosion, a firestorm caused by the heat wave, radiation sickness, the British Army burning corpses and the police shooting looters during food riots.

Interspersed throughout the play are interviews with a series of establishment figures in favour of nuclear weapons and even nuclear war that were based on genuine quotations, as well as interviews with a doctor, a psychiatrist and others, giving details of the effects of nuclear weapons on the human body and mind.

Cheery, huh?

Well, no. In fact, following its transmission on 6 August 1965 (the 20th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing), the BBC said that "the effect of the film has been judged by the BBC to be too horrifying for the medium of broadcasting" and withdrew it, never to air it in full until 1985. But, hey, lucky people, you can watch it now! Remember - if you like it, buy it.

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